Patent Trial & Appeal Board

Trial Dates & Backward Looking Stats Unreliable?

This past November, Senator Tillis has cautioned the agency that “it is difficult to imagine any plausible justification for the continued reliance on the demonstrably inaccurate trial dates set by the Waco Division.” Fintiv practices have remained unchanged since that time.

More recently, the WDTX had occasion to consider the competing schedule of another forum. Finding that the WDTX was faster, it looked to the realities of the other forum’s scheduling.

Continue Reading WDTX Looks at Average Time to Trial, Why Doesn’t the PTAB?

New Director to Review Hirshfeld Decisions?

Patent Owners that had the option to avail themselves of the new Director Review process under former interim Director Hirshfeld have been crying foul to the Federal Circuit. Their argument being that the Arthrex holding required a Senate confirmed Director Review, and that an interim Director (promoted from within) did not meet that criteria. Argument was heard a month or so back at the Federal Circuit on this issue.

Since that time, Senate confirmed Director Vidal has finally taken the wheel. Realizing this, the gov’t now hopes to pull the plug on these appeals.

Continue Reading More PTAB Arthrex Remands?

CLE This Month

For those seeking some quality CLE this month, consider the second annual Patent Litigation Masters™ 2022 program, presented by IPWatchdog® this coming May 23rd-24th. The program is offered live at the Hyatt Regency (Dulles Airport). The two-day agenda offers a number of compelling topics, and as usual with the Watchdog Masters Programs

Tillis/Hirono Demand Answers on OpenSky

Barely on the job for a week, Director Vidal is already being politically pressured to address a festering issue of patent policy.   That issue—the use of a recycled IPR petition as a means to collaterally attack large damage verdicts— is a self-inflicted wound for the agency.  The OpenSky business model wouldn’t exist absent the ill conceived expansion of discretionary denial practices under former Director Iancu.

Senator Tillis (a vocal supporter of Director Iancu) sent a letter to the agency this past Wednesday demanding answers….gotta love politics.
Continue Reading Senate Grows Impatient with PTAB

New Director Turns Attention to Rule Making

This past Friday, Director Vidal announced that the agency will be keeping the current interim Director review process that was put in place post-Arthrex.  The Director added that the process (or some variant thereof) will be formalized via Notice-and-Comment Rulemaking after collecting stakeholder input.  In the

New Confirmation to Drive New Policy?

At long last, the Senate has finally confirmed Kathy Vidal as the new PTO Director….just in time to tender her resignation before the next administration!  Ok, maybe not quite that late.  But considering it can take close to two years for any Notice and Comment Rulemaking to get through the system, these appointment delays can seriously hamstring a Director’s ability to drive any significant policy change.

So, the new Director needs to hit the ground running.  And, as usual, the PTAB offers some early hurdles.
Continue Reading Finally, a New PTO Director. Now What?

Federal Circuit Affirms Hunting Titan POP Decision

In Hunting Titan, Inc. v. DynaEnergetics GmbH & Co. KG, Inc., IPR2018-00600. The PTAB’s POP panel reviewed the denial of a Motion to Amend based upon a panel’s sua sponte modification of a petitioner’s proposed ground (here).  In reversing that determination, the POP found that such a sua sponte action should be a “rare circumstance.”  For example,  where there is a readily identifiable patentability concern apparent in the record.

At the time, I pointed out that when a petitioner presents a 103 ground that in reality is a 102 ground, I could not imagine how such a circumstance was not readily identifiable, and rare.  While seemingly agreeing with me, the Federal Circuit nonetheless affirmed the POP panel.
Continue Reading No PTAB Duty to Separately Examine Amended Claims

How the PTAB Ticks This Thursday!

Do you want to learn more about the inner workings of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)?   Hello!!….what IP nerd doesn’t!?   If so, the next PTAB Boardside Chat webinar will really spin the propeller on your cap.

This Thursday, March 17, from noon to 1 p.m. ET, the

Reasonably Could Have Investigated in PGR?

Last month the Federal Circuit recalibrated the scope of IPR estoppel by overruling Shaw Industries. That is, after the SCOTUS decision in SAS Institute, the Court concluded that IPR “raised or reasonably could have raised” estoppel applies not just to claims and grounds asserted in the petition and instituted for consideration by the Board, but to all claims and grounds not in the IPR but which reasonably could have been included in the petition.

As to “reasonably could have been raised,” this assessment  considers what information was known to the filer, and when, or, what might have been uncovered via a reasonably diligent search.  In the case of a PGR proceeding — allowing a broader range of validity challenge types relative to IPR — this “reasonably could have raised” estoppel footprint poses a significant risk to patent challengers.
Continue Reading PGR’s Scary Estoppel Footprint

Next Week’s CLE Agenda

For those seeking CLE this month, a number of great programs to consider in the coming weeks.

First up, the freebie 🙂

Next Tuesday, March 15th @ 1pm(EST) Gardella Grace presents the free one-hour webinar entitled In Possession of an Invention? Litigation Insights for Life Sciences Patent Drafting.  Presenters include